"If you see something, say something"
State employees who want to report suspected improper governmental actions may participate in the Whistleblower program. The range of activities covered is wide: using a state computer or email for a private business, failing to competitively bid contracts, using a state position to extend privileges to the employee or someone connected to the employee, or grossly mismanaging public funds and resources.
What does the Whistleblower Act say?
The Whistleblower Act (RCW 42.40) provides an avenue for state employees to report suspected improper governmental actions.
The Legislative intent is to encourage state employees to report improper governmental actions. The law makes retaliation against people who file whistleblower assertions unlawful and authorizes remedies should it occur.
The State Auditor's Office investigates and reports on assertions of improper governmental actions made by a state employee as reported by another state employee. The procedures are different for assertions that are brought against judicial officers of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals (see Question 5 for more information).
You can read the full provisions on the Washington State Legislature's web page.
If I file a Whistleblower complaint, will my identity be kept confidential?
If the State Auditor's Office initiates an investigation into the assertion of improper governmental action, the identity of the employee who submitted the complaint is kept confidential.
However, if the State Auditor's Office does not initiate an investigation, the employee who filed the assertion is not a whistleblower, as defined by RCW 42.40.020(10)(a).
How to file a Whistleblower complaint online
Click here to file a Whistleblower report online. A committee meets regularly and reviews all Whistleblower complaints received by our Office. We assess each complaint before determining whether or not to initiate an investigation.
If you have any questions regarding the Whistleblower program, recently filed complaints, and more, please contact:
Jim Brownell, Whistleblower Manager
Cheri Elliott, Lead Whistleblower Investigator